The unifying characteristic of the legacy corporate media’s repeated attacks on Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni is that they all contain false statements — some much worse than others.
One fake storyline pushed by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and The New York Times is that, after President Trump lost re-election in November, Ginni Thomas continually emailed a private listserv of former Thomas law clerks complaining about his loss, causing a rift in the group for which she had to apologize. This fake news fits a familiar pattern seen throughout the hit pieces: The press takes an instance in which Ginni Thomas did something that was in reality exemplary and distorts it beyond all recognition into something nefarious and unethical.
There is in fact a private email listserv of the current and former Justice Thomas clerks and their spouses, developed by Ginni Thomas many years ago to help everyone stay in touch on family and career developments. That the Thomas family has over 30 years helped foster a tight-knit “extended Thomas family” with the clerks and their families, who routinely correspond online and convene in-person, is the kind of thing the media would write nice profiles about were the Thomases a court couple that held the “right” views.
Instead, we get this: Mayer fabricates that Ginni had “been agitating about Trump’s loss on a private Listserv,” and that Ginni “eventually apologized to the group for causing internal rancor.” As The New York Times frames it, Ginni’s “use of the [Thomas clerk email] forum prompted a bitter debate among the former clerks,” and after this contentious exchange of emails, “Ginni…felt compelled to issue a semi-apology on the forum.”
I can say for certain that these stories are false, because I am a member of this listserv and read this email exchange, which occurred on Jan. 17-18, 2021.
First, it is completely false that Ginni Thomas was “agitating about Trump’s loss.” In fact, Ginni sent an email on Dec. 19 to the listserv with a general update on life, and added, “Since early November, I have been on sabbatical from my politics and meetings, postings and all – which is new and super challenging for me, but makes sense until our national election is more resolved.”
After one clerk sent an email on Jan. 17 providing an article critical of the Jan. 6 events, Ginni Thomas sent a separate email on Jan. 18 that began with a heartfelt apology to the clerk family: “I owe you all an apology. I have likely imposed on you my lifetime passions. My passions and beliefs are likely shared with the bulk of you, but certainly not all. And sometimes the smallest matters can divide loved ones for too long. Let’s pledge to not let politics divide THIS family… what we have together supersedes any one of your politics, including mine.” Aside from this email, Ginni Thomas did not send any other emails on this listserv about Trump’s loss.
After Ginni’s email, two former clerks responded separately to the former clerk’s original Jan. 17 email, and there was a total of six emails exchanged between these three clerks regarding the events of Jan. 6, until a fourth clerk told them to take the discussion off the listserv. Ginni did not respond at all to the email exchange between the three clerks responding to the original Jan. 17 email.
Then the listserv went back to what it mainly does, providing a forum to keep in touch, from recommending books and toys for kids, to passing along birth announcements, graduations, weddings, and other celebrations in the lives of the clerk families.
Yet Mayer can’t help but turn Ginni’s participation in this listserv into some kind of ethical transgression by quoting an “expert” on Supreme Court clerks who cries that Ginni “is advocating for things directly” to the Thomas clerks — Thomas clerks whom this totally independent and impartial party describe as “an elite right-wing commando movement.”
This is bizarre. Fully 99.8 percent of those on the listserv are former clerks and their spouses, who don’t work at the court, and 99.99 percent of the exchanges are about family and professional updates. You know Ginni Thomas really triggers the left when her sending of heartfelt notes in a listserv of clerks and spouses makes the left see conspiracies and corruption.
Omitted from the media’s hysterical talk of the Thomas Clerk World Listserv is why it was created in the first place: One of Justice Thomas’ former clerks, Greg Coleman, a wonderful person and legal superstar, tragically passed away in 2010 in a crash of an airplane he was piloting, along with his mother-in-law and her brother. Out of that terrible moment came the Thomas listserv, developed by Ginni Thomas and Coleman’s widow, Stephanie, to build the “connective tissue,” as Ginni says, among the Thomas clerk family to support one another in times of difficulty and to celebrate family and professional news.
Ginni Thomas should be applauded for helping bring this clerk family together, but the legacy corporate press prefers to lie about everything she does in a campaign to destroy her. Shame on them, and particularly Mayer, for these false and baseless smears. And know this: Ginni will never cower in the face of your callousness.